Photo: Lukas Keapproth/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism
JANESVILLE -- U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan told a packed gymnasium at his former high school this morning that "it is not too late to get this right" as he prepares to accept the Republican nomination for vice president this week.
"We are not going to duck the tough issues and kick the can down the road," Ryan pledged to the Craig High School crowd at a send-off rally before heading to the Republican National Convention in Tampa. "We are going to lead."
Introduced by brother Toby and taking the stage with his family, Ryan told the raucous crowd, "It's good to be home."
Ryan acknowledged that his hometown as been hit hard by the economic downturn in recent years, but told the story of two friends who found new careers after being hit by layoffs in the city's manufacturing sector.
"That's the kind of thing we need to do is pick ourselves up," Ryan said, saying what's important is that "our government works for the people and not the other way around."
"This is a defining moment for our country. This is not an ordinary election, this is not an ordinary time," Ryan said. "We are picking the pathway for America for a generation."
He praised running mate Mitt Romney as a man of integrity who'd created thousands of jobs, while blasting President Obama for his record on the economy.
"We've seen what the president has offered," Ryan added. "It's a nation in debt. It's a nation in doubt. It's a nation in decline."
The congressman reiterated criticisms of Obama from the 2008 campaign, referencing Obama's comments at a fundraiser that some voters "cling to guns and religion" and comments in Ohio that he hoped to "spread the wealth around."
"Every now and then the president, in moments of candor, tells us what he really thinks," Ryan charged.
"It's this economic school of thought, this belief, that the economic pie of life is somehow fixed."